Grimsby-based dog trainer and owner of Happy Hounds Dog Training, Susan McKeon, has been chosen to present her dissertation research at an international conference for dog trainers and behaviourists.
Susan, who is in the final year of a BSc in canine behaviour and training, will be jetting off to the States for the annual Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) conference in Connecticut. She will be presenting her research, which looks at impulsivity and self-control in retired racing greyhounds, on Friday 17 October 2014.
The APDT conference brings together dog trainers and behaviourists from across the globe, and is an internationally recognised forum for learning about and sharing the latest scientific research into dog behavior and training. Each year, the conference calls for poster submissions which highlight the latest academic research in dog training and behaviour, and Susan’s research is one of the seven accepted submissions, and the only one from the UK.
Susan runs Happy Hounds Dog Training, which provides training classes for all breeds of dogs, and one to one training and behaviour consultations. Her training methods are based on the science of how dogs (and humans) learn, and she is dedicated to helping dogs and their owners adjust to the demands of modern family life. As she explains:
“Dog training knowledge and methods have really moved on in the last 20 years or so. Thanks to an explosion in research into dog behavior, we know much more about how dogs learn and which training methods work, which is why I only use force-free and positive reinforcement training techniques. Training methods which advocate punishing a dog, or use force to make a dog ‘submit’ are extremely outdated, unnecessary and, in my opinion, completely unethical.
“Presenting at the conference is a great opportunity, albeit a nerve-wracking one, to discuss findings of research and promote greyhounds as pets. I hope that the findings of my research will dispel some of the myths surrounding greyhounds – especially those concerning their lack of trainability.”
Susan received over 900 responses from greyhound owners across the world, making her research one of the largest studies into greyhounds post-racing. She received completed surveys from greyhound owners in as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Canada and USA, as well as the UK and Ireland.
Happy Hounds Dog Training provides training classes for puppies and dogs of all breeds and ages, as well as one to one training and behaviour sessions and greyhound-only activities. Classes take place at St Augustine’s Community Centre on Tuesday evenings.